Michigan becomes first college football program with 1,000 wins: How Wolverines survived Maryland

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Amid a turbulent season off the field, No. 3 Michigan made college football history Saturday, becoming the first program with 1,000 wins after defeating Maryland 31-24 in College Park, Md.
The Wolverines continue to lead the NCAA in wins followed by Ohio State and Alabama (963), and Texas and Notre Dame (945) as of Michigan’s victory Saturday.
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While coach Jim Harbaugh has accounted for 84 of Michigan’s victories, he wasn’t on the sideline against Maryland as he served part of his three-game suspension as punishment for Michigan’s scouting and sign-stealing scandal. Instead, offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore led the Wolverines to the milestone victory as he continues to serve as acting head coach with Harbaugh absent.
The win marked Michigan’s 11th straight victory this season and sets up a battle of two undefeated Big 10 teams, with the Wolverines hosting the No. 2 Buckeyes next Saturday in their regular-season finale. That will mark the final game Harbaugh will miss as part of his suspension.
1,000th win amid controversy
Michigan’s milestone win came after another week filled with turmoil. Thursday, the school dropped its legal challenge against the Big Ten and announced Harbaugh would serve the remainder of his three-game suspension. Friday, Michigan fired linebackers coach Chris Partridge for allegedly interfering with the NCAA’s in-person scouting investigation. On top of that, the Wolverines found themselves in a tense, back-and-forth game for the first time all season.
Michigan’s defense came through in the fourth quarter with an interception from Mike Sainristil and a safety on an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone. But Michigan’s offense had multiple chances to put away the game and couldn’t do it, making for an anxious fourth quarter. The Wolverines improved to 3-0 under Moore but will need to play better next week against Ohio State. — Austin Meek, Michigan staff writer
Pass defense looks shaky
Michigan didn’t face a team with a top-50 passing offense during its 10-0 start. Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was the most dynamic passer the Wolverines have seen all year and exposed holes in Michigan’s pass defense that didn’t show up in the first 10 games.
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Tagovailoa completed 21 of 31 passes for 247 yards, including passes of 33 and 34 yards to Kaden Prather. Cornerback Josh Wallace had a tough day, and Michigan rotated Wallace and Ja’Den McBurrows in the second half. Michigan made up for it by forcing three turnovers: two interceptions from Sainristil and a fumble that was recovered by Derrick Moore for a touchdown.
Tightening up the pass defense has to be a priority if Michigan is going to contain Marvin Harrison Jr. and the Ohio State offense next week. — Meek
McCarthy off the mark
Quarterback J.J. McCarthy had one of his roughest games of the season, completing just 12 of 23 passes for 141 yards. McCarthy threw an interception in the red zone with Michigan driving at the end of the first half and had several other throws that could have been picked off. He also missed a wide-open Cornelius Johnson on a play that could have been a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
McCarthy played most of the game without his top receiving threat, wide receiver Roman Wilson, who was injured on a big hit in the first quarter and didn’t return. Michigan also had to shuffle on the offensive line after starting left tackle LaDarius Henderson was ruled out before kickoff and his replacement, Myles Hinton, went down with an injury.
Last season, Michigan won a close game against Illinois to improve to 11-0 and won big the following week against Ohio State. The Wolverines will be hoping to repeat that script this season. — Meek
Backstory
Harbaugh’s suspension was the latest major development in a tumultuous year for Michigan, as the program has been the subject of NCAA investigations and has fired multiple staffers.
Michigan and the Big Ten announced Thursday they resolved their legal dispute and Harbaugh would serve the remainder of his suspension. The announcement came less than 24 hours before attorneys representing the two sides were scheduled to deliver arguments in front of a Washtenaw County (Mich.) judge as Michigan sought a court order to keep Harbaugh on the sideline.
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The Big Ten agreed to close its investigation, while an NCAA inquiry remains ongoing.
The announcement that Michigan was dropping its legal challenge to the Big Ten’s suspension was an abrupt about-face from the school’s defiant posture in response to Harbaugh’s suspension. An industry source briefed on the investigation said Friday that new information continues to come to light through the NCAA’s interviews with Michigan staff members, widening the scope of a scandal that was initially tied to a single staff member, recruiting analyst Connor Stalions.
Officials from Michigan are participating in those interviews, the source said, and learning information in “real time” as the NCAA investigation unfolds. The Big Ten sought information from the NCAA before assessing Harbaugh’s suspension but has now stepped aside as part of Michigan’s decision to drop its legal challenge.
“Although the Big Ten has closed its investigation, we are continuing to cooperate with the NCAA as it moves forward with its ongoing investigation,” a university spokesperson said in a statement. “Consistent with our commitment to integrity, we will continue to take the appropriate actions, including disciplinary measures, based on information we obtain.”
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(Photo: Brad Mills / USA Today)

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